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New York Mills School Board Meeting, Sept 27

New York Mills's Public Schools are off to a great start for the 2010-2011 year. Students and teachers alike have shown great enthusiasm throughout Homecoming and the new year.

Luke Becker and Heather Good have joined the school system. Becker has already added a Power Mechanics class and serves as the new AG teacher and Future Farmers of America (FFA) advisor.

Good has spent the last four years in St. Paul and Edina and is already enjoying her year as a long-term substitute teacher. "It's been great so far," she said. "Everyone's welcoming and helpful, it's great."

The High School Student Council has added a box on the counter of the school's office, so that they can get more feedback from students. Their goal is to give students as much of a voice as the Student Council.

The Student Council has already touched upon the referendum, and is working on publicizing their minutes.

Brian Peters of Energy Services Group brought great news to the school board. "You're on a good track with your savings," he said, referring to a plan that has been implemented to lower the cost of the utilities and continuing the execution of a more efficient energy plan.

Within 15 years, all costs for the implementations will be paid off. This includes control systems, energy-efficient lights, high efficiency plumbing, piping, timed lighting systems, and an energy management system.

From September 2009 to August 2010, there has been a savings of $38,129.

Special Education: Math and Reading

Adequate Yearly Process (AYP) is being closely watched. Mathematics and Reading for Special Education students has not made any significant growth in the last two years.

Parental notification letters were sent in August, and an Elementary Improvement Plan will be executed on November 10.

All teachers received and completed an online survey for assessment, curriculum, instruction, culture of learning, engaging families and communities, professional development, leadership, and planning & resources.

"This is an ongoing plan and an ongoing process. As we focus in on our standards, our focus will become more narrow," said superintendent and elementary principal Todd Cameron.

Referendum Forum and Web Calculator Tool

On Tuesday, October 19 at 7 p.m., an open forum and public meeting will be held in the Performance Arts Center. Social networking and various community groups are spreading information on the referendum.

Information on the referendum should be available on the website on Friday, October 1.

The website will offer a program in which visitors can enter the market value of their home or business to determine how the referendum will affect them.

The New Year

"It's been quite a blast getting the year going. A lot of good things are happening and I'm extremely proud of teachers. I've got a really good feeling about this school year," said high school principal Blaine Novak.

"I'm very proud of our kids."

Dean of Students Travis Hensch said that Homecoming was positive and that the positivity continued throughout the week.

"The energy was just amazing for Spirit Day," he said.

Homecoming will be held the first or second week of October next year. Also, Coronation will revert back to its traditional Monday.

A more active role is being taken in the PLC's for vocabulary, engagement, involvement, and comprehension. "It's been a treat to work with flexible and understanding teachers," he said.

A new resource available for teachers is a spin-off of the Level Library. Professional resources are now available and will continue to be, as new books tailored toward education and teaching have been added.

Students have the added benefit of being able to focus on their specific reading levels. These texts have a focus on their literacy, tailored to their reading level.

Playing Ball

It was noted that baseball groups have approached the school board to fix one of the baseball diamonds, and the school is anticipating to eventually put a removable mound on the field in the future. This way, numerous levels of baseball players will be able to utilize the field.

Sod will be placed in the infield to lessen the amount of maintenance needed. The field can also be used for hosting state tournaments, Little League, and other events.